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Polish Farmers Launch Month-Long Protest, Demand Resignation of EU Agriculture Commissioner

Polish farmers launch a month-long strike, demanding the resignation of the Janusz Wojciechowski, EU Agriculture Commissioner for their grievances.

Saurabh Shukla
Polish Farmers Launch Month-Long Protest, Demand Resignation of EU Agriculture Commissioner (Photo Source: @AndyVermaut/X)
Polish Farmers Launch Month-Long Protest, Demand Resignation of EU Agriculture Commissioner (Photo Source: @AndyVermaut/X)

Polish politicians are calling for the resignation of EU Commissioner for Agriculture, Janusz Wojciechowski, as farmers across Poland initiate a month-long general strike. The protest, which began on Friday, sees farmers blocking roads within Poland and at border crossings with Ukraine, expressing their discontent with European Union policies. The protests follow a recent two-month blockade by Polish truckers, advocating for restrictions on Ukrainian competitors entering the EU. While the truckers have temporarily suspended their blockade until March, tensions persist over grain import restrictions introduced by Poland and four other EU nations, exacerbating strains in relations between Poland and Ukraine.

Growing Farmer Unrest Across Europe

This wave of discontent is not limited to Poland alone. Farmers in France, Belgium, Portugal, Greece, Spain, and Germany are also taking to the streets to voice their grievances. They protest against what they perceive as restrictive EU measures aimed at combating climate change, escalating costs, and unfair competition from foreign markets.

In a coordinated effort, farmers staged protests at over 250 locations across Poland, obstructing highways and border checkpoints, and causing significant disruptions to traffic flow. Tractor convoys, symbolizing rural discontent, converged on major urban centers, including Poznan, where farmers distributed produce to raise awareness.

Among the demands of Polish farmers is the easing of existing EU environmental regulations and those anticipated in the bloc's forthcoming Green Deal. They argue that these regulations place undue burdens on their livelihoods.

Polish Agriculture Minister, Czeslaw Siekierski, warned of potential further import bans, citing concerns over unfair competition and market dynamics. The protests, organized by Poland's main farming union, underscore growing farmer dissatisfaction across Europe, fueled by declining revenues and perceived regulatory imbalances. Polish farmers attribute diminished earnings to competition from Ukraine, where producers operate under less stringent EU regulations.

Despite the expiration of a Brussels-approved grain import ban in September, Poland's current administration extended the restrictions, prompting criticism from officials. The Polish government, previously led by the Law and Justice (PiS) party, remains at odds with EU policies under the new pro-EU coalition.

As protests persist, the future of EU agricultural policies and the cohesion of the European farming community hang in the balance. 

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